Want to be a better communicator at work? Think soaps not saga

Think about the last novel you read. Tech advances now enable you to buy it as an e-book but one thing won’t have changed – its length. Publishers still release 70,000+ words in one hit. That single hit publishing principle is something we are often guilty of in business. A lengthy message, pushed out, then scrubbed off the to do list.

This approach to publishing fiction is now being contested. And that challenge offers insights to anyone wanting to improve their business communications. So what is publishing’s new challenger business model? Serialisation – with ‘fiction to fit your life’ – delivered to readers over a 12-16-week period. Here are some key insights this new model affords business communicators:

  • Story tell: This technique powerfully transforms any communication.
  • Engage: Think about the best time, channel and content to entice.
  • Repetition: Establish your core messages and frequently repeat them.
  • Instalment: Each message must engage AND ladder to your bigger story.
  • Audience: Make it easy to see why, when & how people should engage.
  • Length: Keep messages bite-sized by delivering in manageable chunks.

You don’t get to know a character in the first chapter. You don’t understand a plot line from a single episode. The trick in business communications is to think like a soap writer. Make today’s sub plot interesting so tomorrow your audience comes back for more. Be clear and consistent on when ‘more’ will be coming. Over multiple, more micro communications, it should become evident that each is building towards a larger story. There will always be those who love the single hit of a 120,000 word saga. It’s just as communicators, in a time-pressured world, we can attract many more to our stories through steady serialisation.

Thanks to Serial Box ‘the newest medium for fictionalised series’ for providing the inspiration for this blog. When Alex isn’t writing for business she’s writing fiction for pleasure. She established not A Duff word in March 2017. She helps businesses, brands and boards to wordsmith words that work, master their messages to matter and sculpt standout stories. Her blog ‘early words’ is published Thursday mornings at 07:00.

Photo by Us Wah on Unsplash

Published by

Alex Duff

Freelance Communications Professional

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